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Sweating Condition Causes Higher Risk of Skin Infections

Posted: May 12, 2009

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“Many studies have focused on the social and psychological effects associated with hyperhidrosis, but few studies have focused on the medical consequences of the condition,” said Dr. Walling. “Our study set out to examine the physical signs and symptoms of primary hyperhidrosis and to determine the condition’s relationship to skin infections in the affected areas.”

Of the patients with primary hyperhidrosis, almost three-fifths (58.9%) were female and more than two-fifths (41.1%) were male. More than half of the patients (53.4%) experienced hyperhidrosis in one area of the body, while the remaining patients (46.6%) had multiple affected sites. The most frequently affected sites of hyperhidrosis reported by the patients were the soles (50.1%), followed by the palms (45.2%) and the underarms (43.4%). Other areas affected included the face, scalp, groin and torso, and some reported hyperhidrosis throughout the body.

In addition, a number of the primary hyperhidrosis patients (38.6%) gave information regarding factors that aggravated their condition. Patients noted stress, emotion, anxiety or social situations as the most common (56.7%). Some found that heat or humidity worsened their condition (22%), while others denied any aggravating factors (15.3%).

Dr. Walling and his research team examined the medical records of the primary hyperhidrosis patients in search of coexisting skin infections that affected the areas involved by hyperhidrosis. They then compared these results to the patients without hyperhidrosis who had been diagnosed with a skin infection that affected any area of the body.

The overall risk of developing a skin infection caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses was significantly higher for the patients with primary hyperhidrosis than those without (30% of patients with hyperhidrosis developed a skin infection versus 12% of those without). In particular, patients with primary hyperhidrosis had a significantly higher risk of developing a fungal infection in the areas affected by hyperhidrosis (12.1%) than the control group (2.7%).